A Carson City father, who along with his wife was charged with second-degree murder in the skull-fracture death of their 7-month old-son, entered a plea on Tuesday to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for the dismissal of charges against his wife.
"I placed my son on a bed and he fell off and I didn't realize the injury was that serious and I failed to take him to the hospital," said Paul Anderson, 46.
Anderson entered an Alford plea before District Judge Bill Maddox. An Alford plea is treated by the judge the same as a guilty plea, but for a defendant it means they don't have to admit the crime, but concede there is enough evidence to convict them.
Seven-month-old Tyrone Anderson was found dead in his crib by his father at the family's apartment in South Carson City on the morning of April 19, 2006.
According to court documents, the parents told police the boy fell two feet from their bed the previous evening. Paul Anderson stated the only people in the home besides Tyrone were himself, his wife, Aurora, and their 2-year-old son.
Both Paul and Aurora Anderson were arrested after two pathologists ruled that the four-inch fracture of Tyrone's skull could not have happened in a 24-inch fall onto a padded and carpeted floor.
In custody since his arrest in February 2006, Paul Anderson's bail was set at $5,000.
"Can you post a $5,000 bail Mr. Anderson," the judge asked.
Anderson looked back at two rows of supporters where a woman in the corner nodded yes.
Paul Anderson could receive probation or one to four years in prison when sentenced Nov. 27.
His wife, Aurora Anderson, 31, was released on her own recognizance.
Aurora Andersons' attorney, Jim Wilson, said Tuesday that his client is relieved the case is over.
"Both of them will be able to get on with their lives. This has just been awful," he said.
Because of the allegations, the Anderson were forced to adopt out their other child to a family member to avoid the boy being taken into state custody, Wilson said.
"We feel badly that Paul decided to plead guilty and are hoping for a good outcome. As good a it can be. It's difficult to imagine a worse nightmare."
Wilson said he was prepared to go to trial next month with his own expert witness.
John Plunkett, a forensic pathologist and nationally recognized expert in childhood head injury, reviewed the case for the defense.
"He would have said the force that would be created from an infant falling 24 inches is more than enough to cause that fracture," Wilson said.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.